Today , despite the extremely warm temperature, the little two girls ate the rest of the oatmeal packets that I had bought on a killer sale this past winter. All of my girls love oatmeal whether its for breakfast or a snack, and the older kids are also able to make their own, which at this season in life, is a big plus for Mommy! I have made up an oatmeal mix before hand and kept it in a larger container to measure out individual bowls, but really wanted to keep the 'single serving' idea going to reduce both disaster and waste. The girls all really enjoy being able to choose different types as well. Many websites tout being able to use snack size bags for this, but I really dislike storing food in plastic bags. I may be the only person with this problem, but without a doubt, one or two bags of some substance gets pushed to the bag of the cupboard. Undoubtedly, I only find it way after its prime and it often will have bugs of some sort. That means all my efforts to be frugal and healthier are blown to bits because I end up throwing away the food from that cupboard! I have learned to keep all food in very tightly sealed containers, it just works out better for me. Luckily I have kept all the baby food jars Abi has eaten in the past year and they are a perfect size to store a single serving of a flavored oatmeal!
I let the girls help with the entire project, from the blender, to the measuring, to the snacking on the raisins the entire time, which created a huge disaster, but proved to be a lot of fun as well. (I would have taken pictures of them being all cute, but my camera was upstairs and I was too lazy to go and get it, sorry!)
Here is what we did:
- 1/4 Cup quick oats
- 2 Tablespoons ground quick oats (like a coarse flour)
- 1 Tablespoon non-dairy creamer (think coffee)
- 1 Teaspoon -1 Tablespoon sugar (sometimes brown, sometimes white)
- 2 Tablespoons dried fruit bits of your choice (or however much more you can git into the jar)
We mixed up three kinds of oatmeal this time around, Blueberries and Cream (which contains dried blueberries and extra creamer), Raisin Spice (which contains raisins, 1 heaped tsp cinnamon and a healthy sprinkling of nutmeg) and Apples and Cinnamon (which contains dried apple and 1 heaped tsp of cinnamon). The sugar amount is really going to vary depending on what your families tolerance is currently set to. Since my kids have been eating the Quaker oatmeal packages, they like it very sweet. I am planning to make each batch with a bit less sugar until we taper down to 1tsp of sugar, unfortunately, right now, to make it palatable for them, we are closer to 3/4 Tablespoon.
The best parts of this kitchen endeavor are the ingredients are of much higher quality, each serving seems to be much more filling and they are much less expensive than the store bought counterpart!
Since the kitchen was already a dusty disaster, I figured we should just keep on rolling and put together some muffin mix in larger quart mason jars as well. I followed the "Universal Muffin Mix" the is found all over the net. I have made this mix before and rarely change a thing on it. I often cut in 2.5 cups of Crisco, reducing the amount of oils/fats that are necessary later. This makes the mix much more time consuming to make, but I prefer it to the regular recipe. Make sure you have a very large bowl if you are going to attempt this! This mix fills my large 'Thatsa Bowl" from Tupperware that is a 42 cup capacity. Once mixed, I measured 3 cups of the dry mix into my quart jars and labeled them for the pantry. With this size dry mix, I use 1 cup water/liquid, 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1/4 cup of oil/butters. This results in roughly 12 large muffins. This is very akin to the Better Crocker Muffin Mix's that are so simple to make, but offers so many more possibilities. One of our favorite variations that is not listed on RecipeZaar is Strawberry Banana Muffins. Mix in a big heaping spoon of strawberry jam with a few over rip bananas. And, if you're wondering; Yes, heaping spoon, sprinkle, pinch, handful... those are all very useful words in my cooking vocabulary. Cooking is about living a little!
Once the muffin mixes were done, I really wanted to forge ahead and make up a half dozen bread mixes as well, but alas, my ankles were barely differentiable from my calves, so my time in the kitchen was over. Hopefully another day in the near future will yield more dry mixes for my pantry.